Symi Island is a small, tranquil island in the Dodecanese islands, just 25 miles northwest of Rhodes. It’s an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere with breathtaking views, hikes along the sea and a more authentic, traditional Greek island experience. When approaching the port, the traditional village that comes into view looks as if it’s a painting, a view that’s hard to take your eyes off of, but within it you’ll find old-world glamor, along with multiple restaurants and tavernas for sampling Symi’s shrimps, a local delicacy. Symi Island Overview A picturesque mountainous island in the Southern Dodecanese near the coast of Turkey north of Rhodes, Symi has a coastline that alternates between sandy shores indented with alluring coves, and steep and rocky stretches. Well it’s still not very well-known to many foreigners, it’s become a haven for tourists from Italy and Britain, resulting in many of the homes being restored after their destruction during the Second World War. It tends to be popular with painters, photographers and hikers; however, there are no tourist zones here – it’s not a place where thick crowds stand around trying to get a peak at a world-famous view or tourists are herded by bus from attraction to attraction, but a destination where you’ll be among locals, sharing their lives. There are a comprehensive selection of businesses and shops, many open year-round, to support the community.
Here you can expect to enjoy pleasant strolls with views overlooking the calm aquamarine sea as well as a practically endless number of beautiful beaches, both sandy and pebbly, many of which can only be reached by boat, and all edged by crystal-clear blue waters. Enjoy browsing or buying in unique shops selling handmade leather goods and dining at seaside tavernas and fine restaurants serving fresh seafood and local gastronomic delights like goat cheese and chickpeas with dill, along with the famous little shrimp known as “Symi’s shrimps.” Symi Island History in a Nutshell The first known historical reference to the island is in Homer’s Odyssey when King Nireus of Symi played a part in the Trojan War by contributing three ships. Symi was occupied by the Dorian and fell under various spheres of influence, including Rhodian, Roman, Byzantine and that of the Knights of St. John who conquered it in 1309. Prosperity began soon after, with the development of boat building, sponge commerce and shipping. The neoclassical mansions that still remain intact today, along many of the island churches, were built during that period. The Turks conquered Symi in 1522, but the Symiots reserved many of their rights, including the freedom of speech and religious expression, by offering gifts to the Sultan. It was a prosperous island thanks to commerce and shipping, which allowed Symiots to support the national war of independence from Turkish rule.
In 1832, the island once again fell under Turkish dominion which lasted for 80 years, when it was succeeded by the Italians. Sponge diving decreased, and motorized ships replaced sails. During World War II, when Symi was bombed by both the Axis and Allies, many Symiots migrated abroad. It came under British military occupation in late 1944, but a few years later, the island and rest of the Dodecanese were incorporated into modern Greece.
Symi At A Glance
Average Flight Time from the UK to Symi 4hours 45mins
Population of Symi630,000
What to See in Symi Take a cable car and enjoy spectacular views, Discover the City Walls, Discover the magic of the Old Town, Game of Thrones tour, Sea Kayak Tour, Lokrum Island
Towns or islands to visit near Symi Daytrip to Montenegro or Bosnia Herzegovina, Mljet National Park, Korcula Island, Lopud Island, Sipan Island